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Americans Enjoy Dinnertime Togetherness
Some may believe that the traditional, nightly family dinner is a thing of the past, absent from the hectic, crazy lives of the modern family. But those people will be surprised to learn that the family dinner is alive and well. Not only do an overwhelming majority of American households desire a nightly family meal of good food and conversation, a large majority say that is exactly what they have.
If you've seen the results of our recent feedback survey, you know that most of our readers eat dinner at home 5 nights of the week, and 87% of those dinners have all family members present. A recent survey found similar results. Respondents:
- Eat 5+ meals together in a week…72%
- Make most of their meals from scratch…83%
- Find meals are a pleasant experience…57%
- Compared to 5 years ago, spend more or same amount of time eating together…66%
- Prepare dinner in 30 minutes or more…60%
- Eat dinner in 30 minutes or less…75%
- Eat dinner in 20 minutes or less…19%
- Report adult female decide what to eat for dinner…92%
- Report adult female in household is primary cook…89%
- Cook Italian as most frequent ethnic food…55%
- Cook Mexican as most frequent ethnic food…21%
- Feel the greatest benefit of family dining together is strong relationships…48%
One of the most frequently enjoyed ingredients in the American sit down dinner is the lowly but delectable potato. Potatoes, like turnips, beets, carrots and onions, are vegetables that store well and keep the pantry stocked right through the cold northern winters.
While most people enjoy their potatoes in the form of French fries, innovative cooks have come up with easier and quicker potato recipes. We're all familiar with potatoes in their baked or mashed form. But their versatility extends from cooking to serving. Here are some ideas to help you enjoy potatoes in short order:
- Don't peel those tubers; just scrub them under warm running water. The skins provide a good source of fiber.
- Cut potatoes into halves or quarters, toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Roast in a 400 degrees F oven until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Chop potatoes into small chunks and put them in a pot with salted water. Bring to a boil and watch carefully. They should be soft in 10 to 15 minutes. Drain; mash or toss with prepared dressing for a quick salad.
- Prick four medium potatoes with a fork and arrange them spoke-fashion on a plate in the microwave. Cook on high power for 14 to 16 minutes, or until tender.
- Cut four medium potatoes into 1-inch cubes or 1/4-inch slices. Place them in a microwave-safe dish and cover with plastic wrap, venting one corner. Microwave on high power until tender, about 7 minutes. (Microwave instructions are based on a 700-watt oven. Adjust cooking time as necessary for your microwave.)
Most importantly, you can make a full meal for four in less than 45 minutes, with a variation on the Pouch Potato idea. Try one of the following recipes to get you started. Then, experiment with your favorite ingredients. Plan on 3 to 4 ounces of uncooked meat and one medium potato per serving. Customize each person's pouch by adding an extra dash of herbs, a different prepared sauce, or additional vegetables.